Week 1 College Football Betting Lines: A lesson in always counting your chickens before they hatch

Here we are, the college football season upon us! This can mean many things, and it is no joke that one of those things is gambling. We here at the Mountain West Connection don't advocate that you gamble, but if you do, research your teams before you pick-em.

My goal is to help you determine who you should bet for/against and how much you should wager. Note, please take what advice I give with a grain of salt, that way if you should lose a bet, you're only losing a grain of salt. Spreads, analysis and wagers are after the jump.

Editor's note: all spreads are coming from Odds Shark . Please also note that the the favored team will have the spread points. All times are in Pacific Standard Time

8/30/12, 8 PM - Minnesota (-9 to Open) at UNLV, O/U-53.5 -- Here we go, one of the first matches of the new season, Minnesota is made out to be a weak team, UNLV is made out to be an even weaker team. A 9-point advantage speaks volumes about what the bookies think about UNLV (remember each team is essentially "given" a 3-point advantage); no one is expecting the Rebels to win, however they are not entirely confident that the Gophers can act like a "dominating" AQ team. Expect Jerry Kill to storm on the field and sacrifice Hey Reb to the football gods to assure a win, otherwise this could get interesting.

My Pick: Minnesota to cover - This is a pretty safe bet as UNLV will be looking to improve this season, but not at the risk of beating a sub-par AQ team. For safety, wager a Walkman cassette player and 2 paperclips.

8/31/12, 5 PM - Boise State at Michigan State (-4.5 to Open), O/U-49 -- Most places have the spread about 6.5-7, however I'm surprised how this opened up. Normally, naming a starting quarterback increases your chances of winning, but the trend went opposite here. I'm guessing this has more to do with the spread starting close enough as it is. Even with a 7-point advantage, essentially what you're saying is that after home-team advantage is given, there's still very little separating these teams and it will come down to less than 7 points.

My Pick: Boise State to ruin the spread - Remember how I said bet with a grain of salt? Quite literally you want to bet this game with a grain of salt. DO NOT PUT BIG MONEY ON THIS GAME. If you're feeling greedy, bet a 25-cent Walmart cola rip-off.

9/1/12, 11 AM - Air Force at Idaho State, bets are off -- Outside of the fact it's an FBS team playing an FCS team, if you bet against America, you lose

My Pick: America

9/1/12, Noon - Nevada at California (-11), O/U-54 -- Really oddsmakers? You're giving a Tedford-ian offense more than a touchdown advantage against a team who's recently been known to score at any point in time? I understand this game is at Cal, and Cal is supposed to be decent to good, but Nevada is supposed to be good to very good. Advantage: Coach Tenure.

My Pick: Nevada not only to ruin the spread, but also to win - I can't see a Cal win here. I want to, I hate Nevada, but Nevada is way too good not to bet against the spread here. You should be betting a Doritos Locos Tacos from Taco Bell, because this psychedelic game is going to make everyone have the munchies.

9/1/12, 1 PM - Colorado (-5) at Colorado State, O/U-50 -- They predict 50 points to be scored here, I'm thinking more like 30-35. Now there is no "true" home team advantage for this game as it is being played at INVESCO Field. As a result from we at the Connection have been comparing to McElwain to celebrities, I now have a new celebrity like minded-ness for the new CSU Coach: SNL's rendition of Barry Gibb. "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We've got a great show for you tonight. Let's get right to it. This is my show, and this is a non-nonsense show. I'm not gonna take any crap from nobody!"

My Pick: Colorado to cover - As much as I want to see Chris Nwoke stampede like a buffalo all over the Buffaloes, I can't picture a scenario where CSU takes the game. Wager a torn up copy of The Great Gatsby, and give it to a fan of either one of these teams...they need to remember the American Dream.

9/1/12, 2 PM - Southern at New Mexico, bets are off -- A battle of the weaklings: New Mexico should have this but you never know.

My Pick: New Mexico, but the real loser of this game is whoever watches it.

9/1/12, 4:30 PM - Hawaii at USC (-37), O/U-64 -- The spread is now up to 39.5-40 points depending on where you look. Hawaii doesn't have a chance, and this could easily be the biggest blowout of the weekend if the Warriors play sloppy.

My Pick: USC covers - Matt Barkley throws four or five TD's in a complete rout where he starts his Heisman campaign on the right foot. Wager as much as five dollars on this game, in what I call "the Stone Cold Lock of the Week."

9/1/12, 5 PM - Wyoming at Texas (-28), O/U-51.5 -- The spread has only moved up another 1-2 points since the line opened, but this is still a tragic point spread. They are severely overrating Texas and underrating Wyoming. There should be no reason why the spread is this far apart, unless the oddsmakers see something that every single MWC blogger/analyst sees. I expect Brett Smith and Co. to make this a very close game (10 points or less) and even pull off the win.

My Pick: Wyoming ruins everything -- If Texas covers this, I will rethink everything about my predictions. Wager one ballpoint pen, a sticky note pad and a can of Natty Ice.

9/1/12, 7 PM - Weber State at Fresno State, bets are off -- Nothing I can say about this game.

My Pick: Duh.

9/1/12, 7:30 PM - San Diego State at Washington (-12), O/U-61 -- Let the Ryan Katz experiment begin. No, wait, don't let it begin! He's playing a Pac12 North team! It can only lead to bad things! Throw in the fact that Washington won't be playing at Husky Stadium, but rather CenturyLink Field where the stadium is made to get loud, and you have a significant advantage to the Dawgs. The only way I can see SDSU winning this game is if Rocky Long doesn't punt at all... Oh, he said he wasn't? Well, let's hope that works then.

My Pick: Washington to cover -- The echoes of "Bow Down To Washington" will be ringing in Katz' ears after he throws his 3rd pick of the game. The FOURDOWNAGAIN prescription will work though. Get greedy: wager one bottle of Fiji water, and then double down at halftime, throwing in some granola. We're in the Northwest this weekend, so we need to be all hipster'd out.

Agree/Disagree with the picks? Leave your opinions below!

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